As we eagerly await blackflies you may enjoy this story of a young falcon that was killed by blackflies in Minnesota. This Associated Press story was published in the Bangor Daily News on June 19, 1986. For some reason I kept this. Here it is.
Blackflies Kill Young Falcon
Wabasha, Minnesota – a young Peregrine Falcon under observation by ecologists trying to reintroduce the endangered species to Minnesota was attacked and killed by blackflies last week, researchers said.
“If someone had told me that would happen, I’d have said ‘Yeah, once in 1 million years,” said Dr. Pat Redig, director of the University of Minnesota’s raptor research and rehabilitation program.
Redig, coordinator of the upper Midwest Peregrine reintroduction program, said the still flightless falcon was besieged by blackflies while it was healthy and alive.
“Essentially it was drained of blood,” said Bud Tordof, curator of the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minneapolis.
Tordof said the month-old bird died June 12 a few hours after it was attacked. The bird was in a specially designed box in the Weaver Dunes wilderness 10 miles south of Wabasha in southeastern Minnesota, Tordof said.
Two other month-old Peregrine Falcons at the same site lived through the blackfly siege but were removed for their safety. The wooden boxes containing the falcons had large-mesh screen on one side to confine them until they are ready to fly.
Month old Peregrine Falcons are around 10 inches long and weigh about 24 ounces. An adult Peregrine weighs about 31 ounces.
Tordof, a professor of ecology at the University of Minnesota, said there is an abnormally high number of blackflies in southeastern Minnesota this year, probably because spring rainfall has been heavy.
I’m sure you got that last sentence: heavy rainfall produces lots of blackflies. Get ready!